A We Are Well Award Winner Turns Grief into Strength
Editor’s Note: This is an installment of a monthly series that will tell the stories of DaVita’s 2018 We Are Well Award winners, in their own words. The We Are Well award recognizes teammates who have worked to improve their physical, social and emotional health, often using DaVita-sponsored wellness programs
2017 was the most challenging of my entire life. I was happy to become engaged in December of 2016, and my fiancé Mick and I were planning our wedding for May of 2017. We started the process of combining households. We chose to buy a house close to my parents, as my mom was the childcare provider for my four-year-old son, and had agreed to care for any future grandchildren that could come along.
On Jan. 27, 2017, two weeks after we had an accepted offer on a new home, my mother suffered a heart attack, lost consciousness/brain activity right away and died two excruciating days later. My son’s “biggest fan,” as he called her, was gone. He started having some concerning behaviors surrounding his grief. I was scared and trying to deal with my own grief. We did not know if we should still move, where to enroll my little guy for Kindergarten and who would take care of him. Everything had changed in the blink of an eye for us.
Ten days after her death, I was scheduled to start my new job at DaVita. We kept pushing through — I started counseling, I used the EAP, and I also sought out a specialist through Hospice, a resource I learned about through my position at DaVita. The specialist continues to work with both my son and me, and I am learning how to “prescribe” time to grieve in a controlled manner so that it doesn’t “ooze” out in other ways.
DaVita’s Village Vitality Points motivated me to start using MyFitnessPal to track my meals and exercise. My family joined our local community center, and we created a regular work-out routine. For me, this includes yoga and jogging, as well as weight-training and TRX. We proceeded with the wedding, and I found ways to include my mother’s memory by lighting a candle for her during the ceremony and creating a memorial table at the reception. My new husband has been a solid rock for me, and our relationship has grown stronger. My son is enjoying his new “bonus dad,” and we make an effort, as I committed to doing while at DaVita Academy in Denver last year, to have fun together as a family every single day.
I truly believe that starting a job in the Village 10 days after such a tragedy was a gift to me from the universe. I have been allotted the flexibility and encouragement needed, through the wellness-focused culture here, to be able to meaningfully manage: my mother’s sudden death, changing jobs, buying a new home and moving, getting married and supporting my son, all in the last eight months.
I am grateful to be welcomed with open arms into this community, and I believe whole-heartedly that this company is “ours.” Thank you!
Every DaVita teammate has access to our Employee Assistance Program. This is a great resource that can help guide teammates to resources to help manage their stress, or provide additional professional help that may be needed. Click on the EAP icon to learn more about the resources and support that is available through DaVita’s EAP. Link to EAP flyer on the VillageWeb: https://intranet.davita.com/Depts/PeopleServices/VillageVitality/Documents/DaVita2017CignaEAPflyer.pdf#search=EAP
Developing and feeding your professional and personal growth is extremely important to your emotional wellbeing. To help support teammates in this area, there are various resources to support teammates along their journey.